This past Saturday, there was a lot of activity in Times Square.
BEYOND the normal amount.
In celebration of its North American launch of the Nintendo game Super Mario 3D Land,
Times Square tuned into a magical Mushroom Kingdom, complete with a huge Mario game course.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the “playground” was set up right in front of the Toys”R”Us store, where the much-anticipated game was going on sale.
The Nintendo staff was out in full force – giving out Mario Mustaches
and Tanooki tails.
I’m not too sure where those Mario flannel pants came from, but I kinda want a pair. They look real comfy. Just sayin’…
Marios were everywhere you looked!
And Times Square was teeming with kids trying to jockey in line for play in the game course.
Instead of being cranky as one might expect, the staff seemed happy to be there, and all too happy to pose for the cameras.
The media was there – it was a news-worthy event!
Sonic was there.
And The Piranha Plant.
And many, many hard-working Marios.
For those of you who don’t know Mario, our pals at Wikipedia tell us:
“As Nintendo’s mascot, Mario is said to be the most famous character in video game history. Mario games, as a whole, have sold more than 210 million units, making the Mario series the best-selling video game series of all time.
Serving as Nintendo’s mascot and the main protagonist of the series, Mario has appeared in over 200 video games since his creation. Mario is depicted as a short, pudgy, Italian-American plumber who lives in the Mushroom Kingdom. He repeatedly stops the turtle-like villain Bowser’s numerous plans to kidnap Princess Peach and take over the kingdom.
Mario’s character design, particularly his large nose, draws on western influences; once he became a plumber, Shigeru Miyamoto (Mario’s creator) decided to “put him in New York” and make him Italian, lightheartedly attributing Mario’s nationality to his mustache.
Due to the graphical limitations of arcade hardware at the time, Miyamoto clothed the character in red overalls and a blue shirt to contrast against each other and the background. A cap was added to let Miyamoto avoid drawing the character’s hairstyle, forehead, and eyebrows, as well as to circumvent the issue of animating his hair as he jumped. To make him appear human onscreen despite his small size, Mario was given distinct features, prominently a large nose and a mustache, which avoided the need to draw a mouth and facial expressions on the small onscreen character.”
And, that’s Mario!
By the way, I read that PETA is very unhappy with the new game. From an NPR story:
“The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is attacking Nintendo’s new video game Super Mario 3-D Land. In the game, Super Mario sometimes wears the skin of a tanooki, which is a raccoon dog. Since tanooki are, in real life, killed for their fur, the group says the game “sends the message that it’s OK to wear fur.”
What do you think about this? Is PETA going a bit too far, or are they justified?
Anyway, thanks Nintendo and Times Square, for making a whole lot of kids very happy in the Mushroom Kingdom for the day!